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Oscar Wilde Biography (Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde) : Famous Playwright, Poet and Novelist
Famous for : Being a celebrity poet, playwright and novelist, and imprisoned for being homosexual.
Wilde details : Born - October 16, 1854 Dublin, Ireland / Died - November 30, 1900

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Oscar Wilde Bio

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Oscar Wilde was a famous nineteenth century Irish novelist, poet, and playwright, best known for his mockeries of English society. His most famous works include The Importance of Being Earnest, and his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Oscar Wilde was born on October 16, 1854 in Dublin, Ireland to Sir William Wilde and Jane Francesca Elgee. His father was a well-known oto-ophthalmologic surgeon who was knighted for his work with medicine. Wilde's mother, Jane, was a famous writer, poet, and nationalist who used her patriotism as a basis for her work.

At the age of one, Wilde moved with his parents and older brother to fashionable Merrion Square where his younger sister was born. Up until the age of nine, Oscar Wilde received his schooling at home, but later attended Portora Royal School from 1864 to 1871. He spent his childhood summers in rural Waterford at his father's family home in Mayo.

When Oscar Wilde finished his primary education, he went on to study the classics at Trinity College in Dublin. He stayed there from 1871 to 1874 and received the Berkeley Gold Medal for his academic achievements at the school. As a result of his success, Wilde received a scholarship to Magdalen College at Oxford where he studied until 1878. During his time at Oxford, Wilde became involved in the Aesthetic movement, a way of life dedicated to living with intensity through art. It was during this time that Wilde became known as quite an eccentric. He decorated his room with peacock feathers, grew long hair, and scorned many masculine activities and sports. Despite his reputation of having an effeminate behavior and criticism from both faculty and students, Wilde continued to do well in his academics. He even won the 1878 Newdigate Prize for one of his poems, Ravenna, before graduating that same year.

When Wilde returned to Dublin after his studies at Magdalen, he met Florence Balcombe, a woman who, at the time, was engaged to marry another writer, Bram Stoker. After falling in love with her and learning of her engagement, Wilde vowed to leave Ireland and told Balcombe that he would never return. He left later that same year and spent the next six years travelling and giving lectures in London, Paris, and the United States.

On one of his visits to London, Oscar Wilde met a woman named Constance Lloyd, the daughter of Horace Lloyd who was a member of the Queen's Counsel. They met in 1884 and married in May of the same year. Constance gave birth to two boys in the next two years, Cyril in 1885 and Vyvyan in 1886. Later, after Wilde's downfall, Constance would adapt the surname Holland to protect herself and their sons from the controversy. Cyril later died while fighting in France in World War I.

Wilde became known as an eccentric personality associated with the Art movement of the late 1800s. When Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience opened in the U.S., they arranged to have Wilde do a series of lectures prior to their opening in order to generate interest in the movement and their project. Critics both praised and objected to Wilde but the publicity was perfect for the opening of the play.

Oscar Wilde's eccentricity and effeminate manners raised public questions regarding his sexuality. Although many historians thought he was homosexual, Wilde himself, saw his own sexuality as a reflection of the ancient Greek paederastic traditions. It's believed that Wilde had relations with a few men, Constance, his wife, as well as younger men known as "rent boys". According to Neil McKenna's biography on the author, Wilde had his first homosexual encounter at the age of 16 but did not fully embrace his attraction to men until shortly after his marriage to Constance. Due to the nature of his writing and his characters, historians still question Wilde's sexual preferences.

Wilde's personal writing career began in 1891 with the publication of Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Short Stories. His most famous novel, Picture of Dorian Gray, was also published the same year. His plays started appearing shortly thereafter, beginning with Lady Windermere's Fan in 1892 and The Importance of Being Earnest in 1895.

Both his sexuality and his slightly controversial writings brought him to the attention of some famous politicians, most notably the marquess of Queensberry whose son, Alfred Douglas, had been intimate with Wilde. The marquess accused Wilde of homosexual practices and Wilde retaliated by bringing charges of libel against the marquess. As a result, Oscar Wilde was charged with homosexual offenses under the Criminal Law Amendment and sentenced to two years of imprisonment and hard labor. Wilde continued to write while in prison, later publishing his poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol which was inspired by his experience. He was released in 1897.

As a result of his imprisonment and social rejection in England, Oscar Wilde went bankrupt, moved to France, and changed his name. He fell ill and later died on November 30, 1900.

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Oscar Wilde Quotes Oscar Wilde Quotes

I have said to you to speak the truth is a painful thing. To be forced to tell lies is much worse.
Oscar Wilde - Truth - Dishonesty

It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating.
Oscar Wilde - Life - Money

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